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    Notes - March 2, 2016


    Photo: (L to R) Mark Donaldson, Chris Churchill and Brad Barker pontificating on all things wine and music


    Once a month, Chris Churchill, Mark Donaldson and Brad Barker educate and entertain us as they talk about what is happening in the world of fine wine and music. And of course, they drink while they entertain. On this episode, Chris, Mark and Brad talk about Tiki Pinot Gris, Gran Feudo Rosada, Altano, and Vale do Bomfim.


    Have a listen!



    Sign up now for the Imbiber’s Report! Impress friends and family with your knowledge of wine.

    This classic chicken liver paté recipe comes from Fine Cooking magazine. We serve this by itself with most types of red wine and whites like Rueda, Pinot Grigio and Cava. The only additions we ever make are a few brined green peppercorns on top for a little bite and a bit of crunch. This recipe is also part of the ‘Mount Everest’ of Christmas dinners, Classic Beef Wellington. It’s quite a bit of work, but the result is spectacular and delicious. In case you are curious, here’s the full recipe.

    Portuguese Sausage and Bean Stew

    This flavourful dish is served with crusty bread. It’s relatively easy to prepare and you can substitute ingredients easily.

    Ingredients:

    1 pound dried kidney beans or great Northern beans, rinsed and picked over or 2 (15- ounce) cans or kidney beans

    8 ounces sliced Toucinho (Portuguese-Style Smoked Bacon) or ‘regular’ smoked bacon, optional

    8 ounces Spanish chorizo or Portuguese chouriço (cured spicy pork sausage), kielbasa or other spicy sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick coins

    1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped 

    4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

    1/4 cup tomato paste

    2 medium Yukon gold potatoes - cut into 1/2-inch pieces 

    4 cups water

    1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes 

    2 tablespoons honey

    1 tablespoon sweet paprika

    2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

    1 medium bay leaf

    Method:

    If using dried beans, add the beans to a large bowl, cover by 2 inches with cold water and let soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Drain and set aside. If using canned beans, drain and rinse.

    Add the bacon, if using, to a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and cook until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon and set aside. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat and return the skillet to the stovetop. Add the sausage and cook until browned. With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage to a bowl and reserve.

    Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the skillet and return to the stove over medium heat. When the fat shimmers, add the onion and garlic, stir to coat in fat, and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 

    Add the potatoes and stir to coat in the tomato paste. Add the beans, chorizo, and all remaining ingredients, except the bacon, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the flavours have melded and the dried beans are cooked through, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Crumble the bacon into beans, and season with additional salt, if needed. Remove the bay leaf, transfer the beans to a serving bowl and serve.

    Remember…don’t eat the bay leaf!

    Notes - January 20, 2016


    Photo: (L to R) Mark Donaldson, Chris Churchill and Brad Barker pontificating on all things wine and music


    Once a month, Chris Churchill, Mark Donaldson and Brad Barker educate and entertain us as they talk about what is happening in the world of fine wine and music. And of course, they drink while they entertain. On this episode, Chris, Mark and Brad talk about Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay 2013, Les Dauphins Cotes Du Rhone Reserve, Crozes Hermitage Les Trois Couronnes, First Press Cabernet Sauvignon


    Have a listen!




    Sign up now for the Imbiber’s Report! Impress friends and family with your knowledge of wine.

    This classic chicken liver paté recipe comes from Fine Cooking magazine. We serve this by itself with most types of red wine and whites like Rueda, Pinot Grigio and Cava. The only additions we ever make are a few brined green peppercorns on top for a little bite and a bit of crunch. This recipe is also part of the ‘Mount Everest’ of Christmas dinners, Classic Beef Wellington. It’s quite a bit of work, but the result is spectacular and delicious. In case you are curious, here’s the full recipe.


    Confit Chicken Thigh and Sausage Cassoulet

    This is an inexpensive riff on a classic cassoulet that uses ingredients that are readily available. Long cooking times ensure that the flavours are rich and deep. This recipe is easy double for a dinner party.

    Servings: 4

    Chicken Confit:

        1½ pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
        Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
        1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
        2 large shallots, halved
        4 sprigs thyme
        2 bay leaves
        2 tsp Ungava Gin
        1 cup olive oil

    Cassoulet:

        1 large onion, chopped
        4 garlic cloves, chopped
        ½ 14.5-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
        4 cups cooked large white beans
        Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
        2 large smoked sausages (andouille if you can find them)
        1 slice thick sourdough bread

    Preheat oven to 225°. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a small Dutch oven or other heavy pot. Arrange garlic, shallots, thyme, bay leaves, and juniper berries around chicken; drizzle oil over. Bring to a very low simmer over medium-low heat, cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until meat is very tender, 2–2½ hours. Let cool in oil (preferably overnight).

    Do Ahead: Chicken can be cooked 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.

    Cassoulet:

    Preheat oven to 350°. Heat ⅓ cup oil from chicken confit in a large skillet over medium. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, 10–12 minutes. Squeeze garlic cloves from chicken confit from their skins into skillet and add tomatoes, crushing with your hands. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add beans and their cooking liquid. Skim off remaining fat from chicken confit and pour juices (about ½ cup) into skillet (reheat fat in pot just enough to loosen juices underneath if needed). Bring to a simmer; season with salt and pepper.
    Transfer bean mixture to a 2–2½-qt. baking dish. Nestle chicken into beans, leaving as much skin exposed as possible, then tuck sausage and shallots from confit chicken around. Cook until chicken skin is very crisp and cassoulet is nicely browned, about 2 hours.
     

    Pulse bread in a blender or food processor to medium-fine crumbs. Toss crumbs in a small bowl with 1 Tbsp. oil from confit chicken season lightly with salt. Top cassoulet with breadcrumbs and cook until they are golden brown, 20–25 minutes.

    Notes - December 16, 2015


    Photo: (L to R) Mark Donaldson, Chris Churchill and Brad Barker pontificating on all things wine and music


    Once a month, Chris Churchill, Mark Donaldson and Brad Barker educate and entertain us as they talk about what is happening in the world of fine wine and music. And of course, they drink while they entertain. On this episode, Chris, Mark and Brad talk about d’Arenberg d’Arry’s Original Shiraz Grenache, Chapel Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Michael David 6th Sense Syrah, Michael David Petite Petit.

    Have a listen!




    Sign up now for the Imbiber’s Report! Impress friends and family with your knowledge of wine.

    This classic chicken liver paté recipe comes from Fine Cooking magazine. We serve this by itself with most types of red wine and whites like Rueda, Pinot Grigio and Cava. The only additions we ever make are a few brined green peppercorns on top for a little bite and a bit of crunch. This recipe is also part of the ‘Mount Everest’ of Christmas dinners, Classic Beef Wellington. It’s quite a bit of work, but the result is spectacular and delicious. In case you are curious, here’s the full recipe.


    Beef Bourguignon

    This recipe is referred to by the CBC and Canadian Living as a ‘classic’ and relatively easy preparation of the dish. Enjoy it with any red wine. This dish is a great one to make ahead of time and re-heat when serving.

    If you are interested in spending a couple of days (really) to make an authentic version, check out Fine Cooking’s Masterclass recipe here.

    1 pkg (14 g) dried porcini mushrooms
    3 lb (1.5 kg) boneless beef cross rib pot roast
    4 oz (125 g) thickly sliced bacon, chopped
    3 tbsp (45 mL) vegetable oil
    1 each onion and large carrot, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper
    1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
    1-1/2 cups (375 mL) red wine, (such as Pinot Noir or Merlot)
    1/2 cups (125 mL) beef broth
    3 sprigs fresh parsley
    2 sprigs fresh thyme
    2 bay leaves
    1 pkg (10 oz/284 g) pearl onions
    1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
    3 cups (750 mL) button mushrooms
    2 tbsp (25 mL) brandy
    2 tbsp (25 mL) minced fresh parsley
    Preparation

    Soak dried mushrooms in 1/2 cup (125 mL) hot water for 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, trim fat from beef; cut meat into 1-1/2-inch (4 cm) cubes and set aside.

    In Dutch oven, sauté bacon over medium-high heat until crisp; transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Drain fat from pan.

    Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil to pan; brown beef, in 3 batches and adding remaining oil as necessary. Transfer to bowl. Drain fat from pan.

    Add chopped onion, carrot, garlic, salt and pepper to pan; cook over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

    Reserving soaking liquid, remove mushrooms and chop; add to pan along with soaking liquid, wine and broth. Bring to boil, scraping up any brown bits. Tie parsley, thyme and bay leaves together with string. Add to pan along with bacon, beef and any juices. Cover and braise in 325°F (160°C) oven until meat is fork-tender, 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

    Meanwhile, in pot of boiling water, boil pearl onions for 3 minutes; drain and chill in cold water. Peel and trim, leaving root ends intact. In skillet, melt butter over medium heat; brown pearl onions, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to bowl.

    Add mushrooms to skillet; fry until browned, about 5 minutes.

    With slotted spoon, remove beef to separate bowl. Add pearl onions, mushrooms and brandy to liquid in Dutch oven; bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until thickened and onions are tender, about 25 minutes. Discard herbs. Return beef to pan and heat through. Sprinkle with parsley.

    Slow-Cooker Boeuf Bourguignon:
    Reduce wine to 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) and beef stock to 1/2 cup (125 mL). Omit flour. Follow recipe except put everything (including browned pearl onions) in slow cooker instead of Dutch oven. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until beef is fork-tender. Add browned mushrooms and brandy. Whisk flour with 1/2 cup (125 mL) water and add to slow cooker; cover and cook on high heat for 15 minutes or until thickened.


    Notes - November 18, 2015


    Photo: (L to R) Mark Donaldson, Chris Churchill and Brad Barker pontificating on all things wine and music


    Once a month, Chris Churchill, Mark Donaldson and Brad Barker educate and entertain us as they talk about what is happening in the world of fine wine and music. And of course, they drink while they entertain. On this episode, Chris, Mark and Brad talk about Casa Silva Cool Coast Sauvignon Blanc, Château de Panignon, Ricasoli Brolio Chianti Classico Riserva, and d’Arenberg High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Have a listen!





    Sign up now for the Imbiber’s Report! Impress friends and family with your knowledge of wine.

    This classic chicken liver paté recipe comes from Fine Cooking magazine. We serve this by itself with most types of red wine and whites like Rueda, Pinot Grigio and Cava. The only additions we ever make are a few brined green peppercorns on top for a little bite and a bit of crunch. This recipe is also part of the ‘Mount Everest’ of Christmas dinners, Classic Beef Wellington. It’s quite a bit of work, but the result is spectacular and delicious. In case you are curious, here’s the full recipe.


    Classic Chicken Liver Paté


    4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted; more for the ramekins
    9 oz. chicken livers (about 1 cup)
    2 medium shallots, chopped (1/4 cup)
    1 medium clove garlic, chopped
    3 sprigs fresh thyme
    2-1/2 Tbs. Madeira
    2-1/2 Tbs. brandy
    2 large eggs
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Butter two 8-oz. ramekins.

    Inspect the chicken livers; trim and discard any green-yellow patches. Cut each liver in half.

    Put the shallots, garlic, thyme, Madeira, and brandy in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer, checking frequently, until reduced to about 1 Tbs. of liquid, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid.

    Put the chicken livers in a food processor. Add the eggs, the reserved liquid, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds, gradually pouring in the melted butter while the motor is running. Strain the mixture into the ramekins.

    Put the ramekins in a 9x13-inch baking dish and pour in enough hot water to come about 1 inch up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until puffed, golden-brown, and set, 25 to 30 minutes.

    Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and cool completely. If not using immediately, cover tightly with plastic wrap once the pâté is cool, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

    Serve on plain crackers or lightly toasted baguette crostini.

    Notes - October 21, 2015


    Photo: (L to R) Mark Donaldson, Chris Churchill and Brad Barker pontificating on all things wine and music


    Once a month, Chris Churchill, Mark Donaldson and Brad Barker educate and entertain us as they talk about what is happening in the world of fine wine and music. And of course, they drink while they entertain. On this episode, Chris, Mark and Brad talk about Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay, Chateau Donissan, The Wanted Zin and d’Arenberg The Galvo Garage.

    Have a listen!






    Sign up now for the Imbiber’s Report! Impress friends and family with your knowledge of wine.

    Grilled Steak and Mushroom Pie

    Here’s one of our favourite comfort foods for fall, and it goes well with red wine or a full-bodied chardonnay.

    Ingredients:

    675 g stewing beef cubes
    1/4 tsp  (1 mL) salt
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
    5 tsp  (24 mL) vegetable oil
    3 slices bacon, chopped
    225 g cremini mushrooms, quartered
    1 onion, chopped
    3 cloves garlic, chopped
    2 tsp (10 mL) fresh thyme, chopped
    1 cup (250 mL) sodium-reduced beef broth
    1 cup (250 mL) brown ale (not too hoppy)
    1/4 cup (60 mL) tomato paste
    2 bay leaves
    1 tbsp  (15 mL)  all-purpose flour
    1 Easy-Roll Pie Pastry
    1  egg yolk

    Preparation:

    Sprinkle the beef with half each of the salt and pepper. In Dutch oven, heat 2 tsp of the oil over medium-high heat; brown beef, in batches and adding another 2 tsp of the oil as needed. Transfer to plate; drain any fat from pan.

    Add bacon to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook until no liquid remains, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate; cover and refrigerate until needed. Add remaining oil to pan; cook onion, garlic, thyme, and remaining salt and pepper until onion is softened and light golden, about 5 minutes.

    Add broth, ale, tomato paste and bay leaves; bring to boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits. Return beef and any accumulated juices to pan.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until beef is tender, about 2 hours. Discard bay leaves.

    Whisk flour with 1 tbsp water; whisk into stew and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in reserved bacon mixture; set aside.  You can make the filling ahead of time and refrigerate in airtight container for up to 3 days.

    On lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pastry to generous 1/8-inch (3 mm) thickness; fit into 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate. Trim to leave 3/4-inch (2 cm) overhang. Scrape filling into pie shell.

    Roll out remaining pastry to generous 1/8-inch (3 mm) thickness. Whisk egg yolk with 2 tsp water; brush some over pastry rim in pie plate. Fit pastry over filling; trim to leave 3/4-inch (2 cm) overhang. Fold overhang under bottom pastry rim and flute edge. Brush top with remaining egg mixture; cut steam vents in top.

    Bake on rimmed baking sheet on bottom rack in 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C); bake until bottom is golden and filling is bubbly, 60 to 65 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes.

    Change it up - Beef and Stilton Pie: Crumble 55 g Stilton cheese over filling in pie shell. Bake as directed. Old Cheddar can also be used.

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